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Reporter James Foley Beheaded in ISIS Video

james-foley-fbi

American journalist James Foley has been beheaded by the terrorist network calling itself the Islamic State.

The House GOP Can’t Even Agree On A Resolution Honoring Pope Francis

Pope Francis waves to crowds as he arrives to his inauguration mass on 19 March 2013.

House Republicans can’t even muster the votes to pass a banal resolution honoring Pope Francis: How partisan and unproductive is the current Congress? The epitome of its dysfunction may have arrived with last week’s wrap-up before a five-week summer recess, as House Republicans failed to pass their own scaled-back bill on the border children crisis on Thursday. Realizing […]

Obama To Bar Discrimination Against Gays By Federal Contractors, With No Religious Exemption

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Later today, President Obama will sign an Executive Order barring Federal Contractors from discrimination based on sexual orientation. But that’s not even the most controversial part for some conservatives.

Citizens United And Hobby Lobby Are About Individual Rights, Not ‘Corporate Rights’

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Much of the criticism of Hobby Lobby, and Citizens United before it, is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what those decisions stand for.

Louisiana May Jail A Catholic Priest For Refusing To Break The Seal Of Confession

Sacrament of Reconciliation

A case out of Louisiana raises serious First Amendment issues.

Lawyers For Gitmo Detainees Using Hobby Lobby To Argue For Expanded Religious Freedoms

Guantanamo Bay Camp Entrance

Political irony, perhaps, but probably less than meets the eye.

Islam And World War One

Ottoman Empire Map

The First World War played an intriguing role in the birth of the radical Islam we are dealing with today.

Is The Law That Saved Hobby Lobby Unconstitutional?

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Is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act itself an unconstitutional Establishment of Religion barred by the First Amendment? There’s a compelling argument that it is.

ISIS Declares Caliphate, Renames Itself ‘Islamic State’

ISIS Map

Is ISIS’s reach about to exceed its grasp?

Previewing Tomorrow’s Hobby Lobby Decision

Hobby Lobby

The Supreme Court has saved the biggest case of the term for its last day.

British Ban Teaching Creationism As Science, Should The U.S. Do The Same?

Darwin Fish

It is now illegal to teach creationism as science in the United Kingdom in any school, public or private, that receives public funding.

No Female Priests for you (Mormon Edition)

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Via the BBC:  Mormons oust Ordain Women’s Kate Kelly over women priests The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has excommunicated a prominent backer of ordination of women priests, her advocacy group has said. Kate Kelly, founder of Ordain Women, was notified of the ruling on Monday, a day after a trial by judges […]

Leave The Church, Take The Canoli

Pope Francis Popemobile

Throughout recent history, the Catholic Church and the Mafia have been the two dominant non-government forces in Italian politics and culture. Yesterday, Pope Francis went further than any previous Pope in condemning a criminal organization that many Italians are fearful of even to this day: (CNN) – Using his strongest language to date, Pope Francis told Italian […]

Supreme Court Declines Review Of Bar On School Graduations In Churches

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The Supreme Court declined to review a lower court ruling that public school graduations in churches are unconstitutional.

Pope Francis Ditches The Popemobile

Pope Francis Popemobile

In yet another sign of the manner in which he has attempted to break from the precedents set by his predecessors, Pope Francis has decided that he will no longer use the bulletproof car that has been standard transportation for Pontiffs since the attempted assassination of John Paul II in 1981: (CNN) – Pope Francis has […]

Texas GOP Endorses Discredited ‘Reparative Therapy’ For Gays And Lesbians

Texas Flag

The Texas GOP wants to “pray away the gay.”

The Second-Largest Religion By State

Religion Map

Reid Wilson takes a look at the map above (click to enlarge), which shows the second-largest religion in each state: In the Western U.S., Buddhists represent the largest non-Christian religious bloc in most states. In 20 states, mostly in the Midwest and South, Islam is the largest non-Christian faith tradition. And in 15 states, mostly […]

Indian Court To Decide If Guru Is Dead, Or Just Meditating

Guru

A Court in India will be asked to decide if a popular guru is dead, or just meditating: The family and followers of one of India’s wealthiest Hindu spiritual leaders are fighting a legal battle over whether he is dead or simply in a deep state of meditation. His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj, the founder of […]

What ‘War On Religion?’

American Flag Bible

The very idea of a “war on religion” in the United States is absurd.

Pope Endorses Palestinian State In West Bank Visit

Pope Palestine

Before Pope Francis departed on his trip to Jordan, the West Bank, and Israel, there was much speculation that he’d end up stirring up some news in the area, and it turns out that speculation was correct: BETHLEHEM, West Bank — Arriving here on Sunday, Pope Francis made an impassioned appeal for an end to […]

Allen West And Ben Carson Both Seem To Think God Wants Them To Run For President

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Allen West seems to think that God might want him to run for President. Unfortunately for Mr. West, so does Ben Carson.

Once Again, The Supreme Court Upholds Legislative Prayer

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The Supreme Court has again ruled that prayers that open legislative sessions are not unconstitutional.

Chief Justice Of Alabama’s Supreme Court Says First Amendment Only Protects Christians

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Roy Moore, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama is no stranger to controversy. During his first term in office (Chief Justice is for some bizarre reason an elected position in Alabama), Moore became famous, or I suppose the better phrase is infamous, when he became the subject of a lawsuit primarily because […]

Vatican Set For First Ever Canonization Of Two Popes, With Two Popes Attending

Vatican John XXIII John Paul II

On Sunday, it’s the Day Of Four Popes.

Headline Of The Day: Sign From Above Edition

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Man Crushed To Death By Giant Crucifix Dedicated To Pope Yea, that’s not a good sign.

Majority Of Americans Don’t Believe In The Big Bang Theory

Big Bang

More bad news when it comes to scientific literacy.

Mike Huckabee: I’m Not Homophobic, I’m On The Side Of The Bible

Mike Huckabee

Former Arkansas Governor, and possible 2016 Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee wants us to know that he’s not homophobic: (CNN) - Mike Huckabee told an Iowa crowd on Tuesday that he’s “not homophobic,” but believing marriage should be between one man and one woman is being “on the right side of the Bible.” Huckabee, who is also […]

Atlanta Archbishop To Sell Buckhead Mansion

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The Catholic Archbishop of Atlanta is selling a $2 million mansion the diocese acquired after several weeks of bad press over the acquisition: Archbishop Wilton Gregory will vacate his $2.2-million Buckhead mansion in early May and move into another available archdiocese property. The decision followed a Saturday morning meeting at the Archdiocese of Atlanta with […]

Legal Headline Of The Day

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Kosher hot dog case presents a real constitutional pickle The case deals with the interesting question of whether or not a Federal Court should be able to rule on the question of whether or not a claim that food is “kosher” is correct, or whether this is an issue that only religious authorities can decide.

USA Isn’t Religiously Diverse

Religious-Diversity

Despite the mythos, 95% of Americans are either Christian or unaffiliated.

Contraceptives And Hobby Lobby At The Supreme Court

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Hobby Lobby has a strong argument under RFRA but the precedent would be dangerous.

Explaining The Conservative Love Affair With Vladimir Putin: It’s All About Opposing Obama

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The bizarre conservative love affair with Vladimir Putin continues.

400 Priests Defrocked in Two Years

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Via the BBC:  Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests in two years. When I first saw this headline, I thought that it was positive evidence of the Vatican acting in regards the pedophilia scandal in the Church.  However, upon reading the story it shows a mixed outcome: Close to 400 priests were defrocked in only […]

Justice Sotomayor Temporarily Blocks PPACA Birth Control Mandate

Birth Control Mandate

Developments overnight in a small but controversial issue raised by the PPACA.

Just 60% Of Americans, 43% Of Republicans, Accept Theory Of Evolution

Darwin Fish

Once again, a poll shows that large numbers of Americans, and most Americans, reject Evolution via Natural Selection as the explanation for humanity’s origin. How do we explain that?

The Star Of Bethlehem And Science Fiction

Nativity Star

One of the iconic images of the religious side of the traditions surrounding Christmas is, of course, the Star Of Bethlehem which, according to what is really a quite limited mention in the Biblical accounts, guided “wise men from the East” to the location of the birth of Jesus Christ. It has become a central […]

The Cultural Conservative Love Affair With Vladimir Putin Is Quite Odd

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Vladimir Putin seems to be getting a lot of love from cultural conservatives in the United States.

GOP Congressional Candidate: Phil Robertson Just Like Rosa Parks

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A Republican candidate for Congress in Illinois says that Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson is another Rosa Parks: AURORA, Ill., Dec. 22 (UPI) – A Republican candidate for Congress in Illinois compared “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson to civil rights leader Rosa Parks in a posting on his website. Ian Bayne, one of four Republicans seeking the nomination to […]

Duck Dynasty, “Free Speech,” And The Culture Of Perpetual Outrage

Duck Dynasty

“Reality” TV star says something dumb about gay people, gets suspended, usual pointless outrage ensues.

Pope Francis Reveals He Was Once A Bouncer

Pope Francis I

Pope Francis continues to surprise people, most recently in a talk with parishioners where he revealed a very interesting job he held before becoming a Catholic Priest: VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In addition to having worked sweeping floors and running tests in a chemical laboratory as a teenager, Pope Francis revealed he also used to […]

No, The U.S. Isn’t Closing Its Vatican Embassy

St Peters Basilica

A State Department announcement about consolidation of diplomatic posts in Rome has led to the latest round of Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Challenge To ObamaCare’s Contraceptive Coverage Mandate

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The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a pair of cases that implicates both the First Amendment and two Federal Laws.

Sarah Palin Apparently Thinks She’s A Catholic Theologian

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Who knew?

Another Federal Court Strikes Down PPACA Birth Control Mandate

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A second Federal Court of Appeals in a week in two weeks has ruled the PPACA’s birth control mandate is unconstitutional.

Is Prayer At The Start Of A Legislative Session Constitutional?

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Do prayers opening legislative sessions violate the First Amendment? The Supreme Court is set to decide that issue.

Pope Francis Is Very Good At Being Pope

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Buzzfeed has the story of an incident that occurred at the close of Pope Francis’s regular Wednesday service in St. Peter’s Square that strikes me as being an example of the simple kind of humanity and compassion that seems to be lacking in our world today, which this Pope seems determined to demonstrate to the […]

Federal Court Rules PPACA Contraceptive Coverage Mandate Unconstitutional

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Another Federal Court has declared the PPACA’s contraceptive coverage mandate to be unconstitutional.

Vatican Misspells “Jesus” On New Papal Coins

Vatican Coin

Someone at the Vatican is probably feeling a bit embarrassed by now: The Vatican has withdrawn from sale 6,000 copies of a new papal medal on which the name of Jesus was misspelt. In an inscription around the edge of the coin, Jesus was mistakenly spelt with an L. Keen-eyed experts snapped up a handful […]

GOP Nominee For Va. Lt. Governor: Non-Christians Engaged In “False Religion”

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Republican nominee for Lt. Governor E.W. Jackson Jr. has opened his mouth again, and likely plunged the Republican ticket into another mess: At a morning sermon Sunday in Northern Virginia, Republican lieutenant governor candidate E.W. Jackson, a Chesapeake pastor, said people who don’t follow Jesus Christ “are engaged in some sort of false religion.” Jackson […]

Conservatives For Putin?

Vladimir Putin

Some conservatives don’t seem too troubled by Vladimir Putin’s repression.

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